Friday, July 7, 2017
ProQuest: Your Publisher...and More
Picture yourself near your project’s end. Writing completed and defense successful, you move on to the long-anticipated last step. That is, you upload your document for final review to ProQuest. For a number of reasons, that shouldn’t be your only experience with this company.
Actually, through reading and research during your time in your program, you’re probably already fairly familiar with ProQuest, a company that traces its history back to 1873. They maintain numerous online research databases, including ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, the world’s largest collection of digitized dissertations and theses—and the future host of the degree-qualifying document you’ll finish here at NIU. But ProQuest’s many other offerings for researchers, educators, and students are worth checking out during any stage of your research and writing.
I was somewhat surprised to discover that, along with its many research databases, ProQuest maintains five blogs, each geared for a specific academic clientele: ProQuest Blog (concerning research databases), International Blogs (academic news in multiple languages other than English), Magazines for Libraries Update (details on scholarly journals), Share This (ideas for schoolteachers), and GradShare. Concerns of graduate students take center stage in this last one. Primarily addressed to writers of dissertations and theses, GradShare features brief but informative posts on researching, planning, composing, and completing the big project. Several of the entries complement ideas we’ve written about here at Project Thesis NIU. Others unique to GradShare are worth a look right away, namely:
How to Write the Best Dissertation: Parts 1 and 2 of this post give helpful drafting guidelines and general advice for those at the start or in the middle of their projects. If you’re in those stages, spend a few moments going through these November 2016 posts, which also happen to be the most recent entries to GradShare because the blog is currently on hiatus. (We recently contacted Devin McGinty at ProQuest to check on the blog’s status, and he told us GradShare will be publishing again in the near future.)
Answers to Questions about Dissertation Orders: This especially informative post from December 2015 features links to pages that answer frequently asked questions about ordering theses and dissertations through ProQuest. A bonus: it also has a link to a review of the important procedures for uploading your document to the company—the glorious last step of the thesis or dissertation journey. Several of the questions dealt with here are remarkably similar to ones students regularly bring to the Thesis Office at NIU.
Review of The PhD Movie: Movies really can be about anything! In 2011, Jorge Cham, creator of “Piled Higher and Deeper” (PhD Comics), produced a feature based on the comic strip titled, you guessed it, Piled Higher and Deeper. In 2014, Devin McGinty reviewed the film on GradShare. “Sometimes the best ideas arise when we are distracted,” McGinty writes at the end of his enthusiastic review, “so the solution to your academic problems could be a bowl of popcorn and The PhD Movie. Enjoy!” In 2015, Cham produced a follow-up film titled The PhD Movie 2: Still in Grad School. Check out the trailers, stills, and other information about the two films at the producer’s website. If you happen to see the second film, perhaps you might want to share your take on it with a wide audience in the form of a review of your own, which leads to another attractive feature of GradShare: you’re invited to post there.
Guest Bloggers Wanted: This post from March 2016 invited grad students anywhere to send in a post of 500 to 750 words on a topic of one’s own choosing. A review of the second PhD film would likely be a welcome submission. But other topics would certainly also be of interest. (And if you do happen to see the second film and write a review of it, and for some reason you can’t get it to GradShare, we’ll be happy to receive your review for consideration as a guest post on Project Thesis NIU. Send submissions as an attachment to email@example.com.)
In short, GradShare and other ProQuest blogs can provide helpful supplementary information to the points we pass on to graduate students at this blog. Happy reading and researching of all kinds, through ProQuest and beyond!
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons